Kitchen Bungalow : Arturo and Gustavo Ghezzi Novak

March 25, 2014

The project began with the subdivision of a 1600m2 plot of land in Miraflores district, Lima, Peru. Once so divided, the construction proceeded over one of the halves of the subdivision, comprising 800m2, which had a large garden with trees, a swimming pool with a terrace and a wooden-structured bungalow with a living room, bedroom and bathroom. However, this halve required a new street’s main entrance with parking accessibility and an intercom, as well as to rebuild a kitchen/laundry-room, in order to be made once again habitable. The new kitchen was placed where an old open-roof storing-room used to be; the existing walls and the tree inside worked as basic, pivotal elements guiding the proposal for a new kitchen.The project thus became an exercise in thinking about the architecture of a kitchen.The design proper to the pre-existing bungalow was defined by being visibly open, in this way establishing an explicit link with its exterior. In designing the new kitchen, we decided in favour of a space where the borders between the interior and the exterior became un-ambiguous. This division of distinct ambiances elevates the feel for the interior space, and yields another form of relation between the inside and the outside.The plot’s subdivision created an atypical situation for a household, where each space was interconnected and accessed through the exterior. This was taken as an advantage and therefore we created an autonomous space within the terrain: a space with its own logic and atmosphere.In this way, the necessity of building a ceiling signified the opportunity of bestowing to the kitchen’s atmosphere uniform light, cast through a roof made of wooden beams.The ceiling’s structural composition makes reference to Sverre Fehn’s Nordic Pavilion in Venice, but was adapted to a domestic scale with a wooden structure.Advantage was taken of the tree located in the interior, as it worked to articulate the space, around which the kitchen area is organized, the dining room and the pantry.  Furthermore, its presence greatly contributes to the kitchen’s spatial features, a situation exacerbated once the trunk had been polished (only the outer part of the bark which is made of dead cells, not affecting the tree’s life).The relation between the interior and the exterior is mainly given through two openings in the pre-existing walls: one for the kitchen area and another, of the height of a sitting person, for the daily dining area. These openings were designed as two pieces of furniture that also served as windows, whose depth was to be used as shelves or storage spaces. These ‘furniture-windows’ work as systems that, in regulating the opening of the wooden panels, control the light, the ventilation and the outside view, changing the space to the convenience of the people using it.The design in these windows was built bearing in mind the lighting and ventilation systems in Le Corbusier’s Jaoul houses, as well as Louis Kahn’s Esherick and Fisher houses.Finally, an exploration of materials in their most essential and primitive state was undertaken: concrete, brick, wood, and steel. Moreover, it constituted an attempt to rethink and design in detail the architectonic components that make up a kitchen.

Architects:Arturo Ghezzi Novak and Gustavo Ghezzi Novak
Photograph credit: Renzo Rebagliati

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